A route to US residency for foreign entrepreneurs.
Destinations worldwide are offering programs allowing individuals to make investments in real estate, the job market, reforestation, and more. In exchange for these investments, globally-minded investors gain residency and, in some cases, citizenship. Individuals and their families can use this freedom to escape from the high taxes of their hometown, tap into new markets, or use a second passport to travel the world. In this article, we will cover the E-2 treaty investor visa; a two-year residency visa offered to nonimmigrant foreign investors. Please continue to read to see what it takes to obtain this visa and how Alpen Partners can help.
What is an E2 Treaty Investor
Making investments offshore can be a great way to diversify a portfolio and an incredible way for foreigners to earn residency in the United States. Through residency by investment programs, globally-minded investors can make a single investment and gain residency. In some cases, individuals can even earn citizenship. Many investors are looking to take advantage of the United States’ economic systems by qualifying for the E-2 treaty. The E-2 is a way for individuals from certain countries to work and live in the United States. Through this option, investors can build their own business as a foreign entrepreneur. The program grants nonimmigrants who make a substantial amount of capital in a United States business. The investor must also be a national of a country with which the US maintains a treaty of commerce and navigation, qualifying international agreement, or deems a qualifying country.
Qualifying treaty investors and their employees earn a maximum initial stay of two years, which can be extended by two-year increments. There is not a limit to the number of times an individual can extend their visa, but they must maintain the intention to depart the United States when their status expires or is terminated. The treaty investors and employees can be accompanied by their spouses and unmarried children under the age of 21. Family members of the investors and employees do not need to be the same as the investor or employee.
Qualifications for E-2 Visa
As you read above, investors must be nationals from a country that maintains a commerce and navigation treaty with the United States, according to the USCIS. This means that the legal or permanent resident status of a treaty country does not apply. Further, the individual does not need to be residing in the treaty country when petitioning for the E-2 visa. For example, if a Spanish investor was living in China, they could still qualify, even though China is not a treaty country. Interested investors must also have invested, or be in the process of investing, a substantial amount of capital in a bona fide US enterprise. An enterprise is considered bona fide if it is a real, active, and operating commercial or entrepreneurial undertaking that produces goods or services for a profit.
A substantial amount of capital is defined by the following qualifications:
- The investment must be substantial in relation to the total cost of purchasing an established business or creating a new one.
- The investment must be substantial enough to express the treaty investor’s financial commitment to the successful operation of the business.
- The investment must be significant enough to support the likelihood that the treaty investor will successfully develop and direct the business. The lower the cost of the enterprise, the higher the investment must be to be considered substantial.
Investors interested in the E2 visa must be looking to enter the United States with the sole purpose of developing and directing the investment business. They can show this by owning at least 50% of the company or possession of operational control via managerial position or any other corporate device. Further, the capital that is invested cannot be directly or indirectly obtained from criminal activity.
The full list of E2 treaty countries can be found at the end of this article.
Looking for Permanent Residence?
The E-2 option is excellent for investors who are not looking to live in the United States permanently but looking for a long-term solution to living in the US. With the EB-5 visa, investors can obtain permanent residency in the US through qualified investments. To qualify for the program, foreign investors must meet the requirements set by United States Citizenship and Immigration (USCIS). After all of the qualifications are satisfied with this program, the applicant’s spouse and children (under the age of 21) will obtain a permanent residency card.
Invest with Alpen Partners
E-2 offers foreign, nonimmigrant entrepreneurs not just the chance to live in the United States but to benefit economically and personally by diversifying their portfolio. While the process of taking your life offshore can seem relatively easy, navigating the rules and regulations of becoming a resident of the US, understanding how large of an investment qualifies as substantial, and understanding the investment qualifications can often be hard to get right the first time. With this in mind, reaching out for a hand is always recommended when it comes to offshore investing.
Alpen Partners, and our team of experts, can guide investors through the world of residency by investment, relocating, and more. Whether the task is choosing which area of the country offers the most benefits to an individual, the kind of company to invest in, tax planning, or any other step in the process, our clients are taken care of. We work hand in hand with our clients to ensure their financial and personal dreams become a reality. Beyond residency and investment services, our team can assist in all levels of financial and life planning for high net worth individuals, including tax planning, asset protection, portfolio diversification, and more. Contact the experts of Alpen Partners today!
Here is the list of current E2 treaty countries:
- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- China (Taiwan)
- Costa Rica
- Czech Republic
- Denmark (excluding Greenland)
- South Korea
- Singapore Slovak Republic
- Sri Lanka
- Trinidad & Tobago
- United Kingdom